Friday, October 30, 2009

dawn of the english dead

I'm a sucker for Jane Austen and I'm a sucker for zombies. So Quirk's announcement that they'll be releasing a prequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has me all atwitter.

Dawn of the Dreadfuls will be an original work of fiction based on Austen characters (as opposed to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters, which were both re-imaginings of Austen novels). The story will follow young Elizabeth Bennet and her sisters as they grow up and are trained by their father to become zombie slayers. Hopefully, this work will live up to its excellent predecessor.

only five designers left

It's time for a great big slice of humble pie here at a tiny machine, because good lord, le petit connaisseur and my predictions about the final three in this season of Project Runway turned out to be ever so wrong. Last night, Logan was sent home. It was a decision that I agreed with whole-heartedly, but didn't know how to reconcile with my predictions about the finale. If Logan didn't design the first collection, who did? And though I'm sticking to my guns about the third collection being Althea's (seriously, the headband is a dead give-away), I'm starting to wonder about the second collection as well. Could it actually be Christopher's? Or are we possibly looking at an Irina-Carol Hannah-Althea showdown? Only time will tell, as my predictions are apparently not to be trusted.

Another note on last night's episode: What was up with Althea's winning look? I liked the pants and the sweater, but couldn't really look away from the horrible, unflattering, unsupportive tank top. Model Tanisha's rack deserves better than that.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

oh my god, i love psych.

And I'm still very disappointed that my boyfriend isn't dressing up for Halloween as Shawn from Psych as Roland Orzabal from Tears for Fears. But Bob Ross should be good too.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

voltage turns the volume up to 11

The runway designers for next year's Voltage: Fashion Amplified have been announced! I was on the committee that selected the participants this year, and based on the impressive portfolios and proposed collections we received, I can promise a diverse and elegant show. Check out le petit connaisseur for details.

hello lover

Georgia May Jagger (the gorgeous offspring of Mick Jagger and Jerry Hall) shows off that famous pout on the November cover of Vogue UK. The on-the-rise model also just signed on for a campaign with Rimmel, along with Canuck Coco Rocha.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

everyone has a sartorial skeleton in her closet

I can't wait to see Sex and the City 2, if only to see 80s Miranda walking through Manhattan in this outfit. Tennis shoes! Clip-on earrings! A bowl cut with center-parted bangs! It is too much. In the words of Rachel Zoe, I die.

it's so hard to say goodbye

Dear, Prescriptives. I know that we've grown apart in recent years, but it still seems impossible that you're leaving this January. I wish I'd done a better job of staying in touch. I have so many great memories of custom blending foundation and lipgloss. A few years ago, you had a limited-edition plum lipstick that was all the rage. (Called "Purple Prose," I think. You always were the clever one.) I kept meaning to pick it up, and next thing I knew, it was gone. And now you're leaving forever and I can't stop thinking about all the missed opportunities. I hope to catch you before you leave so that we can say good-bye properly, and also so I can stock up on Instant Gratification Skin Renewal Peel. LYLAS.

Check out the top five Prescriptives products Beauty Addict posted today. Stock up, kids.

i'll have a puppy, a cigarette and a plate of macaroons, please.

jason in space!

Come to JagerCon tonight to see the movie that Roger Ebert said "sucks on so many levels." Seriously, Jason breaks out of "Crystal Lake Research Facility." It's hysterical.

JagerCon: Sci-Fi Tuesdays

@ Clubhouse Jager
923 Washington Avenue N.

Every Tuesday
10 p.m. / 21+ / Free


Join hosts Kate Iverson (l'étoile magazine, Secrets of the City) and Beth Hammarlund (l'étoile magazine, A Tiny Machine) every Tuesday Night for JagerCon! JagerCon is a weekly sci-fi party featuring screenings of classic nerdy movies and television shows -- topped off with 2-4-1 cocktails all night served by Star Captain Paul!

Mingle with like-minded sci-fi geeks, discuss D&D strategies, and use that Captain Picard impression you've been perfecting to pick up chicks at the bar. Snort-laugh the night away while bragging about your MMORPG addiction and enjoy a cozy, nerd-friendly environment.

Oct 27th: Jason X: Jason in Outerspace
Nov 3rd: CANCELLED DUE TO PRIVATE EVENT (Don't worry! We WILL reschedule Cocoon!)
Nov 10th: Westworld
Nov 17th: Class of Nuke Em' High
Nov 24th: Legend

behold the spectacle

the gorgeous new UK poster for The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus featuring British model-turned-actress Lily Cole

the best reasons to cut your hair

Carey Mulligan

Ginnifer Goodwin

Jean Seberg

Monday, October 26, 2009

olsens for pennies

Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen have made quite a respectable name for themselves in the fashion industry. Their high-end line The Row and their more moderately priced collection Elizabeth & James have proven that in additional to still having selling power, the Olsens have an innate sense of style that can be translated into innovative design. Olsenboye, their most recent venture, will be available at JCPenney this February. The prospect of inexpensive clothes from the Olsens is exciting, but so far I'm not too wowed by the promotional images. The hot pink skirt looks promising, but I can't get psyched over a mass market screenprinted tee that say "Love." Hopefully these first images don't do the line justice. Granted, this is a collection for juniors, so I'm not really their teenybopper demographic. But hey, grown up ladies want affordable Olsen clothes too.

Friday, October 23, 2009

project runway spoilers! but not really!

If you don't want to hear any predictions about who makes it to Fashion Week on this season of Project Runway, stop reading now. I don't have any inside information or official spoilers about upcoming eliminations. However, images of the finalists' runway shows were made public last year. At that time I certainly didn't have a point of reference to make predictions, but after religiously watching the episodes, the designers' aesthetics and model choices for their final PR outing make it fairly obvious who made it to the final three. And world, I'm not sure you're going to be happy.

Three collections were shown for this season of Project Runway, unlike in previous seasons, in which four or five collections were shown to throw fans off the scent. Despite a few floor-length gowns, the majority of the looks have a very daily wear feel. Sadly (at least I think so), no one will be having a "Chris March used human hair!" moment this season.

The three models used in the finale show are Tanisha, who has modeled for Althea at least five times, Lisa, who has consistently walked the runway for Carol Hannah (and also took a turn for Althea), and Kojii (although it's a little hard to tell with the hat), who has earned some serious loyalty from Logan. That information combined with what we know of the designer's styles makes an Althea-Carol Hannah-Logan showdown a very likely event.

I'm pretty sure this is Kojii for Logan, but it's the only model and collection I'm not quite sure about. I can't imagine Logan making it to the final three. He's created some decent looks, seems like a nice enough guy, and is definitely fun to look at, but I'm not sure if I understand his aesthetic, and I know the boy can't sew a crotch. If he gets to go to Fashion Week over brilliant eliminated designers such Ra'mon and Epperson, I will have half a mind to write Nina Garcia and Michael Kors a strongly worded letter. That's how we do things in the Midwest.

Lisa's been Carol Hannah's favorite for quite a while, and has modeled successful looks such as the black multi-textured gown created for Christina Aguilera. This collection is the most disjointed of the three, but there are a few pieces that immediately struck me as very Carol Hannah. I definitely don't have a problem with her making it all the way through, as she's been consistently solid this season, with a couple of extremely high notes. Initially, a few of these pieces reminded me of Christopher's work, but I imagine that if he created a runway collection there would be far more dramatic ball gowns.

Tanisha has been with Althea from the beginning, even taking home the top prize for the challenge in which designers created a look with their model as the customer. The collection's color palette and over-sized chunky sweaters scream Althea. And as my friend Jahna (who was my partner in crime for these predictions) pointed out, no one loves a wide headband the way Althea loves a wide headband.

Who knows what will happen? I feel very confident in my predictions, but it wouldn't be the first time I've been wildly wrong about something. One thing I do have a little bit of insider information about is the Project Runway tattoo rumors. Christopher and Ra'mon have definitely gotten matching star cluster tattoos, and since the design includes three stars and Ra'mon has mentioned that three designers got the tattoos, Jezebel recently speculated that Nicolas was the third. Since this information was accompanied by an episode still of Nicolas with the design visible on his hand, I was certain that they were correct, and actually used the information in one of my l'étoile Fashion Trivia questions last night. Christopher, a loyal attendant, actually gasped "Who's the third?" from the crowd when I read the question aloud. Oops. Gave everyone a free point on that one. Later that evening, he informed me that he thinks just he and Ra'mon got the tattoos, but he was the first to admit he may be mistaken about that. He did confirm that another designer was supposed to get the tattoo as well, but wasn't feeling well and cancelled. Hint: She loves mascara. Apparently, quite a few of the participants drew the three stars on one another for good luck during the series, including Christopher, Ra'mon, and Nicolas. I hope they didn't include Irina.

And now for some shameless self-promotion. Join Kate Iverson and me every Thursday at Hell's Kitchen for Fashion Trivia and a screening of Project Runway. We give away fabulous prizes, drink a lot of Bellinis, and get extremely emotionally invested in the episodes.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

more than words

I've been waiting to see Pontypool forever. After reading all of the reviews, trying to find a copy in a local video store, ordering an over-priced DVD from an online seller (whom I'm convinced is hoarding all the world's copies), and checking my mailbox every day for its arrival, I was certain that I'd built the movie up so much in my head that there was no way it couldn't be a total disappointment. Fortunately, and as is often the case, I was wrong. Pontypool is awesome.

Set in a small town in Ontario, the majority of the film takes place in a church basement where a daily morning radio show is broadcast. Host Grant Mazzy, producer Sydney Briar, and assistant Laurel Anne begin receiving confusing phone calls in which townspeople are babbling incoherently. Their traffic reporter in the "Sunshine Chopper" (actually his Dodge Dart perched on top of a hill), calls in to report rioting outside of a local clinic. The riot devolves into people trampling one another, and eventually turns horrifically violent. The townspeople start to rip one another apart, while chanting terms of endearment and speaking in baby voices. Throughout the chaos, our three main characters remain in the radio station, listening to eyewitness reports of the violence, but having no real confirmation of what's happening in the outside world.

Though Pontypool is considered a zombie movie, that label certainly doesn't do justice to the psychological horror that the film accomplishes. There isn't much gore, there aren't any startles, and the zombies don't get much screen time. Most of the tension arises from hearing horrific incidents described, with no visual confirmation. The main characters are frantically trying to make sense of an unexplainable situation, and their realization that the virus is spread through the English language is terrifying. While trying to work together to survive, they are unable to speak to one another or broadcast warnings to the outside world. The movie's tagline is, appropriately, "Shut Up or Die."

Pontypool's screenwriter (who also wrote Pontypool Changes Everything, the novel on which the movie is based) doesn't refer to the infected as zombies. Instead, he calls them "conversationalists," an intensely creepy term for people driven so insane that they are trying to eat the words out of one another. It's an incredibly original concept, further elevated by great performances from all the actors. Stephen McHattie nails his performance as shock jock Grant Mazzy, and the characters interact with such believability that it's impossible not to find yourself invested in their well-being.

If you don't feel like waiting for a month to get a DVD of your own, Pontypool is available on demand and will be screened at The International Zombie Summit in Stockhold, WI on October 24th.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

no freakin way

Jean Paul Gaultier is designing a capsule collection for Target. The line, which will hit stores March 7, 2010, is rumored to be inspired by Madonna.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

how dollhouse got its groove back...sort of

Joss Whedon's FOX series Dollhouse and I have kind of a dramatic love-hate relationship. I love the premise, a handful of the episodes have been outstanding, the show asks interesting and ambitious questions, and I have total Whedon Fan Loyalty Syndrome. However, Dollhouse is probably the most uneven show I've ever made a habit of watching. During the first season the show struggled to find its voice, sometimes painfully, but several promising episodes and interviews with Joss Whedon convinced me that the writers had settled into a groove and that Dollhouse would reach its full potential in season two.

The season premiere left me feeling pretty nervous. Despite the best efforts of Amy Acker (a regular Whedon player who really killed during her Dollhouse stint) and some intriguing philosophical questions, I couldn't help noticing what's been bothering me about the series all along: Dollhouse takes itself way too seriously.

Sure, Buffy the Vampire Slayer explored some pretty heavy issues. My favorite episode showed the death of a parent in a way that I've never seen on television and film before. And Angel and Firefly have certainly had their deeper moments as well. But some of the best moments in those series occurred when the writers let themselves go and have fun with it. Everything needs some levity now and then. Even season six of Buffy had the musical episode.

But Dollhouse seems to be in a constant battle with its own sense of self-awareness. The subject matter is so heavy and so philosophical, that even with actors who get to portray different characters in every episode, it seems like everyone involved is tied up with little room to play and actually have fun with it.This brings to me to last week's episode of Dollhouse, the third in the second season.

The two central storylines involved some pretty heavy parallel stories. Both involved men turning women into sexualized dolls, willing enthusiastic prostitutes. Amusingly, one was a liberal arts college professor and the other was a serial killer. But the stories informed one another in an organic and disturbing way. Pretty heavy stuff with some quite shocking moments. But despite the dark subject matter, the writers injected the show with some moments of genuine humor. Enver Gjokaj's dance routine was my favorite moment of fall television so far, and the normally exhausting holier-than-thou handler Paul Ballard was allowed numerous clever quips. Really, let Tahmoh Penikett make a joke now and then. He doesn't need to be constantly put-upon (I'm looking at you too, BSG). That, plus the always entertaining Adelle DeWitt (played with excellent precision by Olivia Williams), and I was in Whedon heaven.

Hopefully this episode's critical acclaim and (relatively) successful ratings mean that Dollhouse will keep this momentum up. Worst case scenario, FOX will let Whedon wrap up the season before potential cancellation. So writers, please remember that this is an ensemble show with an excellent cast. Give them a chance to show off their comedic chops.

le scoop

Aw, fellow l'étoilette le petit connaisseur de la mode and I had to take down our leaked image from the upcoming Rodarte for Target collection. But, no skin off our backs, since Target provided us with this official (and beautifully styled) image from the lookbook.

And thanks to Nitrolicious and Jezebel for the links!

zombies: a love story in 19 movie posters and one book recommendation

It's the most wonderful time of the year. Last night I attended the opening of The Soap Factory's famous Haunted Basement, an experience that I found appropriately terrifying. This Saturday I'll be carving a jack-o-lantern (hopefully in a BSG design), an encore viewing of Paranormal Activity might pop up on the agenda, and come October 31st, I'll be celebrating at l'étoile's Clubhouse Jager party l'étoile-o-ween.

In the spirit of the season, I put together a list of my favorite zombie movies. Though it shames me, I must disclose that I haven't yet seen: Pontypool, Grace, Dead Snow, Colin, Dead Set, [rec] (the Spanish inspiration of Quarantine) Carriers, Deadgirl, and Zombie Strippers ( [snooty accent] Jenna Jameson in a zombie movie based on a Eugene Ionesco play? How delightfully gauche!).

Resident Evil: Apocalypse (just that one scene where the reporter gets eaten by the zombie school children): I hated Resident Evil: Apocalypse. Like, a lot. However, there are few things creepier than zombie children, and a mob of them bringing you down in a deserted classroom is a pretty horrific thought. This scene always gives me shivers. Too bad it's in a movie that I find boring, convoluted and unsatisfying.

Resident Evil: Extinction: Other than the aforementioned Apocalypse, I quite enjoy the Resident Evil franchise. Sure, there are the boring exposition meetings of the Rainbow Corporation suits, but this movie had Milla Jovovich kicking ass, zombie crows and Ashanti (whom I find inoffensive!). What more could you want out of mindless entertainment?

Dead & Breakfast: Stellar cast. Amusing premise. Nobody saw it.

Fido: Zombies are a man's best friend.

Resident Evil: The first Resident Evil movie is perhaps the only film based on a video game that I really enjoy (fingers crossed for Bio-Shock!). True, they totally ripped off that hallway laser slice and dice scene from Cube, but they also have Milla Jovovich kung fu fighting zombie dobermans, and Michelle Rodriguez playing the same character that she always plays. A badass.

Day of the Dead: A perfect demonstration of the fact that cauterizing a zombie bite is not nearly as fun as it sounds.

Planet Terror: Just like Erma Bombeck said, if life gives you a leg amputation due to a zombie attack, make a prosthetic machine gun leg. That was one of her sayings, right?

28 Weeks Later: Really? The only survivor of the zombie plague is a carrier, and you leave her completely unguarded and within reach of her husband. Lame. But awesome.

Quarantine: I've read quite a few negative reviews of this film, but I don't quite understand the vitriol. It's pretty standard zombie fare, but with an interesting twist. The characters have been quarantined in an apartment building by the U.S. government. They will be shot if they try to exit the building. So in this case, it's a desperate tale of survival with no real hope of escape. Jennifer Carpenter stars, and I'm really becoming a fan of hers. She was perfect in The Exorcism of Emily Rose (and apparently super double-jointed), and she's one of the best actors on Dexter (a pretty impressive feat considering the amazing cast). Plus, anyone who marries a co-star but still manages to play on-screen siblings convincingly is a pretty solid actor in my book.

Cemetery Man: Twisted. Funny. Classic

Slither: This film doesn't seem to get a lot of mentions as a Zombie Best Of. I suspect that has more to do with the subject matter and less to do with the quality of the movie. People tend to think of Slither more as an alien movie than a zombie movie. True, Slither does involve an alien parasite from outer space that possesses people with slithery slugs, but those slithery slugs turn people into scary space zombies. It counts.

28 Days Later: Danny Boyle's rage zombies are a perfect slap in the face for anyone who's ever claimed, "In case of an outbreak, I can just outrun them."

I Walked with a Zombie: This is one of the most influential horror movies of all time. Sadly, few have seen it.

Night of the Living Dead: Needs no description.

Zombieland: I saw Zombieland in the theater during its opening weekend, and it was some of the most fun I've had in a theater in ages. In addition to being a clever new riff on zombie movies, it was a completely engaging watch. Audience members laughed, jumped, clapped and cheered. And seriously, who wouldn't with that amazing cameo by........? Yeah, I'm not spoiling that for anyone.

Shaun of the Dead: Horror-comedy is a notoriously difficult genre. Though the success of Zombieland may suggest otherwise, these are some of the most difficult movies to make into a critical and commercial success. Simon Pegg and Nick Frost do it beautifully. Plus, Shaun's mom is totally played by the Prime Minister from the new series of Doctor Who!

Dead Alive: Peter Jackson laughs in the face of my assertion that horror-comedy is difficult to do.

Dawn of the Dead (remake): When I first heard of director Zachary Snyder's (Watchmen, 300) remake of the George Romero classic Dawn of the Dead, I wasn't exactly pleased. The original is everything I want in a zombie movie, and I didn't understand why a director who's clearly such a Romero fan would want to mess with a classic. But after hearing that Sarah Polley Jake Weber had been cast, I had to admit that I was curious. Snyder's version doesn't disappoint. It stays true to the original in allegory and premise, but delights in adding fun new elements to the story, such as the famed Jay Leno zombie. The opening sequence with Sarah Polley's husband is about as traumatic as a zombie movie can get, and when she's later attacked in the mall by a zombie woman that she's trying to save, things really start falling to pieces. There are certainly flaws. I could have lived without the Not Without My Zombie Daughter sub-plot, but it's a device that was effective in turning survivors against one another, a must in this genre.

Dawn of the Dead (original): Again, no description necessary. This is George Romero's masterpiece.

World War Z: Though this is more of a movie list, I'd be hard-pressed to write a post about zombies without mentioning World War Z by Max Brooks. Sorry Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, but Z takes the cake for the ultimate zombie novel. Rumors of a film adaptation have been swirling since the book's release. This movie could be epic, y'all

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

she's my flowerbomb

I knew taking that job as a magician's assistant was a bad idea.
Viktor & Rolf gown